Livestock owners are being urged to ensure to take special care of their animals over the coming days with severe to extreme temperatures forecast across most of the state.
Chief Veterinary Officer, Mary Carr, said wherever possible stock should be moved to shaded areas with shelter from hot northerly winds. Ample cool water is an essential ingredient for successfully keeping stock healthy during extremes of temperature.
“While it sounds obvious, it is always worth repeating: animals of all kinds, whether it is your livestock or your pet, need shade wherever possible to protect them from searing sun and wind,” Dr Carr said.
“As animals can drink up to double their normal intake during hot weather they also need good supplies of cool water.
“In hot weather drinking troughs should be inspected daily to ensure they are working correctly. Ensure they are large and clean, especially when moving stock into a fresh paddock, as evaporation may make trough water become saline and undrinkable.
“Feeder pipes should also be buried to help with temperature control and to prevent breakages.
“Keep animals away from dams which may become boggy and a danger for any stock seeking water.”
Dr Carr said just like humans heat stress can be fatal for animals.
“During hot weather, livestock should be checked daily to ensure they’re coping with the heat,” she said. “If you don’t live on your property or are away on holidays, ask your neighbours to check regularly on your animals and water troughs
“The first signs of heat stress may include panting and drooling. Stock may also be restless and start bellowing.
“Stock movements during hot weather should also be minimised – both on-farm and off-farm. If there is no way of avoiding stock movements, then it should be carried out during the night or early morning when it is relatively cooler.
Dr Carr said livestock transporters should also have in place contingency plans to handle unexpected breakdowns during heatwave periods and be aware of the national welfare laws governing the movement of livestock. More details can be found at www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au/land-transport.
“Poultry too are very susceptible to heat and if they’re kept in a shed that isn’t fitted with an effective cooling system, then the shed should be cooled by wetting the shed or hanging wet hessian in breezeways,” she said. Birds will need access to plenty of cool water too.
“For pets, owners can use ice packs or wet towels to cool them down. Ensure pets have access to shade and water. Owners should also consider bringing inside smaller pets such as rabbits, during extreme conditions.”
Never leave any animal unattended in a vehicle, not even for five minutes.
For more information and advice on animal care during heatwave periods visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/emergency_management/caring_for_livestock_during_a_heatwave